New Yorkers’ search for gasoline continued today, with some motorists waiting on line for hours for as little as a gallon of petrol as filling stations grappled with supply shortages and power outages in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
“The shortage of gasoline in the New York-metro area has caused major inconveniences for our residents, and the state must take every action possible to address this issue,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “Although there is much work to be done, I have directed the state to temporarily suspend gasoline distribution related requirements so gasoline and other fuels can be transported throughout the region and New Yorkers can return to life as normal as quickly as possible.”
In Brooklyn, drivers roamed the streets, looking for a line to join. Many reported waiting for hours, only to learn that the pumps were empty before they reached the head of the line.
In Bedford-Stuyvesant, the end of the gas line formed at Bedford Avenue and Putnam Street, more than a mile from the Hess station at Bedford and Flushing avenues. The Observer found Carl Wiseheart, a sommelier at Lelabar in Greenwich Village, pushing his blue Vespa down the avenue. He’d been on line for three hours, he said, and had only come three blocks. “I’m running on fumes,” he told us—he’d spent four hours yesterday looking for fuel, hoping to drive into Manhattan to pick up his pay. “If I don’t get some today, I’m going to leave this on the road somewhere and pick it up next week.”
At the BP station at Bedford and Lincoln Place, drivers filled gas cans, water jugs, mop buckets and every other kind of container they could muster, under the watch of a half-dozen police officers. “The mood was sort of mixed,” said Richard Rosario, who filled a red five-gallon gas container at the Bed-Stuy filling station. “People were pretty good for the most part, then every now and then it would tense up.” And: “My brother-in-law came and wanted to cut the line, and I told him, ‘No way, man, you have to be fair.’”
At the Brooklyn Armory, the mood was optimistic. The Department of Defense had sent 5,000-gallon fueling trucks, and National Guard of the 69th Infantry pumped gas—10 gallons per person, and free of charge. In the morning, the trucks were serving automobiles only—and, we heard, only pumping for cars whose gas needles were nearing Empty. But by the time the BP at nearby Bedford and Lincoln closed, the Guard started filling containers: The crowd lining the Armory’s outer wall cheered when gas-can carriers got filled, or when police officers sent would-be cutters to the back of the line.
Eren and Ryan Moore had come from Plainview, N.J. to stay with relatives in Brooklyn after losing power during the storm; They queued their car at Classon Avenue and Union Street, and two hours later, had reached the front of line. “Our patience has paid off,” Ms. Moore told us. “It’s been a lot of frustration, but we’re thankful for what we’ve got.”